Hitachi Speeds Up Portable Hard Drives

Hitachi Speeds Up Portable Hard Drives


Hitachi Global Storage Technologies made hard drive history today by introducing new advances in miniaturization technology to create a giant of a drive: The industry’s first 7200 RPM mobile hard drive with breakthrough “femto” slider technology.

These developments give new-found mobility to users who were previously “plugged-in” to their desktops for the performance advantage. But users of the new Travelstar 7K60 mobile drive will not have to give up battery life for the additional speed. The new 7200 RPM drive offers power-consumption parity with its 5400 RPM counterpart, due to Hitachi’s newly miniaturized femto slider.

The femto slider — or the tiny flying wing supporting the read/write head above the surface of the disk — reduces power consumption and increases shock performance, adding to the overall superior mobile experience of the Travelstar 7K60. At 60 gigabytes (GB) of storage, the 7K60 is also the industry’s most capacious 7200 RPM mobile hard drive.

“The 7K60 changes the landscape for powerful mobility,” said Bill Healy, general manager, Mobile Business Unit, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. “With desktop-equivalent performance, the 7K60 represents the pinnacle of mobile hard drive innovation; it gives notebook manufacturers the key component they’ve been looking for to develop a compelling desktop-replacement system.”

IBM is the first to support Hitachi’s 7200 RPM mobile drives and will be shipping them in new, more powerful ThinkPad systems later this summer.

“Travelstar drives have been a staple component of the IBM ThinkPad line, and a consistent contributor to our leadership features and innovative mobile technology,” said Peter Hortensius, general manager, Think products, IBM Personal Computing Division. “Our customers demand the best technology, and Hitachi’s new 7200 RPM notebook drive delivers, helping to continue the ThinkPad tradition of excellence.”

Within the same family, Hitachi also announced today the Travelstar 5K80, which earns its rank among the Travelstar elite with the industry’s highest performance and highest capacity at 5400 RPM. The 5K80 offers capacities ranging from 20 to 80 GB. IBM plans to incorporate the Travelstar 5K80 in several ThinkPad notebook models next month.

Nano, Pico, Femto

Hitachi underscores its mobile technology leadership with the industry’s first implementation of the femto slider, which represents a 30-percent reduction in size over the previous-generation slider, called “pico.” The new femto slider is less than 1 mm by 1 mm in dimension, which is roughly the size of the ball on a standard ballpoint pen.

“The tremendous revolution in hard disk drive storage technology over the past half century was led by miniaturization of every component in the system,” said John Best, chief technologist, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. “That trend continues with the introduction of the femto slider, which will enable significant improvements in manufacturing productivity, disk storage capacity and mechanical performance.”

Hitachi’s new femto slider significantly improves the following hard drive functions:

– Reduces power consumption by 11 percent
– Increases shock performance by 25 percent
– Increases surface area available for recording by 3.5 percent

In addition, more efficient manufacturing can be achieved with the femto slider: when fully utilized, there can be up to a 65-percent increase in the number of femto sliders produced per wafer as compared to pico.

“Unplugged” Performance

Hitachi Travelstar drives have consistently led the industry in performance, but power users needing 7200 RPM performance have had to give up mobility to obtain desktop-level data speeds.

Until now, technical obstacles prevented 7200 RPM performance in a mobile hard drive. In the Travelstar 7K60, Hitachi overcame technical challenges associated with faster spinning drives without sacrificing any of the desirable attributes of leading-edge mobile drives: quiet acoustics, low power consumption, and excellent performance in high-vibration environments.

At 7200 RPM, the 7K60 spins 33 percent faster than its 5400 RPM counterpart, resulting in the following improvements:

– Faster data transfer rate of 15 percent (rate at which data is read and written)

– Lower rotational latency of 20 percent (time it takes disk to get data under the read/write head)

The 7K60 also shows a 20-percent improvement in average seek time (time it takes the read/write arm to arrive at the desired data track).

The industry-leading 7200 RPM Travelstar defines a new mobile HDD category aimed at satisfying the needs of the most demanding mobile users. The Travelstar’s new performance speed also helps to support an industry trend toward using notebooks as a desktop replacement.

5400 Performance, Capacity Leader

The Travelstar 5K80 offers the only 80 GB 5400 RPM mobile drive in the industry, boasting 30 percent more storage capacity than its closest competitor. In benchmark testing, the 5K80 performs, on average, 10 percent faster than competing 5400 RPM mobile drives currently on the market. The 5K80 has the lowest acoustics in a mobile drive and comes in 20, 40, 60 and 80 GB capacities. The 5K80 represents a combination of sophisticated hard disk drive design and technology leadership to support the notebook industry trend toward standardization on 5400 RPM performance.

Both the 5K80 and 7K60 are shipping in volume this month. Hitachi’s new mobile drives complement the 4200 RPM Travelstar 80GN, shipped late last year, to offer customers the broadest portfolio of 2.5-inch mobile hard disk drive products on the market.

Additional information on the new Travelstar hard drives and femto slider technology can be found at

Technical Specifications Travelstar 7K60

60 GB
9.5 mm in height
7,200 rpm
50 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
2 glass disk platters
4 GMR recording heads
1000 G/1 ms non-operating shock,
200 G/2 ms operating shock
4.2 ms average latency
10 ms average seek time
ATA-6 (IDE) 100 MB/sec maximum interface transfer rate
Ultra DMA (mode-5)
91/91/95/95 weight in grams
2.7 Bels typical idle acoustics
3.3 Bels typical operating acoustics

Technical Specifications Travelstar 5K80

20/40/60/80 GB
9.5 mm in height
5,400 rpm
70 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
1/1/2/2 glass disk platter(s)
1/2/3/4 GMR recording head(s)
800 G/1 ms non-operating shock,
200 G/2 ms operating shock
5.5 ms average latency
12 ms average seek time
ATA-6 100 MB/sec maximum interface transfer rate
Ultra DMA (mode-5)
98/98/102/102 weight in grams
2.2/2.2/2.5/2.5 Bels typical idle acoustics
2.6/2.6/2.9/2.9 Bels typical operating acoustics